Traditional recipes

Indian tamarind chutney recipe

Indian tamarind chutney recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Preserves
  • Chutney

A sweet and spicy smooth chutney made with tamarind paste, cumin, ginger, fennel seeds and garam masala. Spoon on top of cooked chicken breasts or simply use as a dip for poppadoms or warm naan bread.

76 people made this

IngredientsServes: 10

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida or garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 475ml (16 fl oz) water
  • 225g (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 40g (about 3 tablespoons) tamarind paste

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, ginger, cayenne pepper, fennel seeds, asafoetida and garam masala; cook and stir for about 2 minutes to release the flavours.
  2. Stir the water into the pan with the spices along with the sugar and tamarind paste. Bring to the boil, then simmer over low heat until the mixture turns a deep chocolaty brown and is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. This should take 20 to 30 minutes. The sauce will be thin, but it will thicken upon cooling.


Asafoetida is used a lot in Indian cooking. It has a strong onion-garlic flavour but a little goes a long way. If you can't find it use garlic powder.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(41)

Reviews in English (35)

Surprised there are no reviews of this yet! I regularly visit the Mughli restaurant in Manchester and they often serve an incredible small pot of a tangy sauce with some of their starters. I knew it had tamarind in because of the tang and the colour and it also has great aromatic flavours so I wanted to find a recipe which seemed similar.Just made this and added some fresh coriander and finely chopped red chilli and it has turned out superb - sweet, tangy and spicy.Great recipe for accompanying starters such as samosas / onion bhajis or poppadoms.-28 Mar 2015

Tasted delicious but after simmering for over an hour ended up having to thicken it with cornflour as it was just a delicious tasting pan of brown water. Will make again but using much less water than suggested.-29 Aug 2017

This was EXCELLENT, just perfect. Really easy to make and tasted delicious. I used jaggery instead of caster sugar...-18 Jul 2017


  • 1/2 lm tamarind seeded imle
  • 2-1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1-1/2 tbsp roasted ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black salt
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder



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Process of making Tamarind Dates Chutney or Khajur Imli Chutney?

Method-1 - To make Tamarind Chutney with dates, chop some seedless dates and soak them in 3 cups of water for 20 minutes. Add the dates along with the water in which they were soaked and tamarind in a pan. add some water.

Reduce the amount of jaggery according to your taste and keep the remaining process same as mentioned below. When the chutney is ready, cool it a bit and blend in a blender to make a smooth chutney.

Method-2 - This method is a bit quicker. Transfer soaked dates, tamarind and jaggery in a pressure cooker. cook it for 2 whistles. cool it down. and strain it to get the nice velvety pulp.

season it with salt, chat masala, some fresh coriander and use as required.

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate (see note)
  • 1 cup jaggery sugar (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black salt or Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

Heat water over medium-high heat until just boiling. Add in tamarind concentrate and stir until completely incorporated. Add jaggery, salt, cayenne, cumin, and ginger. Stir until sugar and salt are completely dissolved.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened to a point that it's slightly syrupy, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool for 10 minutes. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Indian Tamarind (imli) Chutney

If you have been to an Indian restaurant and have had any kind of savory appetizers, then you have likely enjoyed it with tamarind (imli) chutney. Fruit chutneys often accompany Indian food to add the sweet and savory experience to the culinary palate. Tamarind chutney can be viewed as the “KING” of fruit chutneys as it offers loads of flavor in a spoon. There are a ton of recipes for this chutney, but this one is an heirloom recipe–an authentic, traditional recipe that has been passed down to my mom by my grandmother. This tamarind chutney is the perfect combination of tangy and sweet.

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Tamarind chutney: the traditional context

My mom has never used a cookbook the recipes she makes come from my grandmother or other relatives in the family or friends. They were never formally written down in a cookbook. This is why I call this an heirloom recipe. It is unaltered from the time my mom learnt from my grandmother.

This tamarind (tamarind in Hindi = imli) chutney is quite heavy on sugar. In the modern context, it is almost always paired with fried, high-sodium, savory foods such as samosas or fritters. But the traditional context of using this Indian tamarind chutney is quite different. While the fried savories are now easily available in restaurants and supermarkets, in my grandmother and mom’s times, they were not eaten as frequently as we do now. Fried foods like samosas were made at home only twice a year and ordered for a take out from restaurants once a month. However, this tamarind (imli) chutney was made a few times a year to enhance the experience of everyday simple food. Here are two takeaways from the traditional context of this recipe:

  1. Condiments were made at home and didn’t come out of a bottle purchased from a grocery store. By buying condiments in a bottle, we have certainly cut down on the work to make it at home. But the practice has also opened doors to many unintended CHEMICALS (such as sodium benzoate) in our diet. CONDIMENTS ARE ONE OF THE BIGGEST SOURCES OF CHEMICALS IN OUR MODERN DIET.
  2. Traditionally this chutney was eaten in moderation to alleviate the monotony of everyday simple food. But in modern diet, condiments often accompany unhealthy foods, i.e., ketchup with french fries and tamarind chutney with samosa. The easy availability of condiments and unhealthy snacks may have created an imbalance of healthy versus unhealthy food in the favor of the latter.

Health coach tips

  1. Read food labels to spot SODIUM BENZOATE in food. It is often found in packaged sauces, chutneys, condiments, salad dressing, and even some yogurts with toppings. If you have these foods in your pantry, it’s best to remove them from your kitchen and your diet.
  2. Enjoy your favorite pairing of condiments and snack foods (fried, unhealthy) in moderation. Use the 80/20 rule: eat healthy without feeling deprived to enjoy the favorite comfort food that you like but your body doesn’t.

Tamarind–an antioxidant-rich fruit with health benefits

Tamarind is a tropical fruit with a host of health benefits. It is used around the world, particularly in Asian, African, and Mexican cuisines. The culinary uses often include sauces, curry base, beverages, and chutneys. In the southern part of India, tamarind pulp is diluted with water and used in everyday recipes such as lentils and veggies. Tamarind also adds sweet/sour taste to many curries. This versatile fruit is high in polyphenols–plant-based micronutrients that offer host of health benefits. Tamarind, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, is said to protect from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer [1].

Let’s make the Indian tamarind chutney

This Indian tamarind chutney offers loads of flavor in one small spoon. While sweet and sour is the main taste profile, you also get to experience the hot spices–red chili powder and garam masala. Its’ super easy to make it if you have tamarind pulp and other ingredients at hand.

The secret ingredient in this recipe is Himalayan Black Salt (knowns as kala namak in Hindi). Black salt, quite popular in many Asian countries, has become popular in many mainstream vegan cafes, at least in the U.S., where it is often used to make vegan eggs due to its eggy flavor. You can find it in Indian stores as well as on Amazon. You can find the link for tamarind paste, black salt, and garam masala from Amazon.

If you like Indian food, here are some based on traditional Indian recipes on TLC

How to make tamarind pulp?

I mostly make the tamarind pulp at home from a dried block of tamarind, which you can find in Asian and Indian grocery stores. Here is the five step process to make tamarind pulp from dried tamarind.

  1. Unwrap and wash the block of dried tamarind under running water to dislodge any dirt.
  2. Soak the block of tamarind in about 4 cups water (the amount of water would depend on the size of the dried tamarind block). I used 4 cups water for a 7oz block.
  3. Cook the soaked tamarind in soaked water until the pulp and seed separate, for about 15 minutes. Add more water if the mixture becomes too thick.
  4. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve.
  5. Use the pulp as needed.

To make the tamarind chutney, just add the pulp with spices and bring it to a boil. It is worth mentioning that black salt and garam masala are usually added at the end of cooking for best taste.

How to store tamarind chutney?

This tamarind chutney lasts for about 3-4 weeks in an airtight bottle in refrigerator and for about 3 months in freezer. I usually freeze it in small batches. Be sure to follow the two cardinal rules of keeping the chutney from getting contaminated:

  1. Don’t put a wet teaspoon in the chutney the unsterilized water can spawn mold in the chutney.
  2. Make sure that the container is completely dry before storing the chutney.

How to use Indian Tamarind chutney?

The Indian tamarind chutney is not just a companion to Chaat. I often also use it in the following recipes:

Tamarind chutney recipe | Imli chutney

Tamarind chutney recipe | Imli chutney with detailed photo and video recipe – It is also known as Imli chutney (Imli is the Hindi word for tamarind). Tamarind chutney is a spiced, sweet and tangy sauce served with Indian chaat snacks or fried snacks like samosa, kachori or pakoda.

The consistency of this imli chutney is slightly thick with a smooth texture. It has the sourness of tamarind balanced with the sweetness of the jaggery (Indian unrefined sugar made from sugarcane juice) and the earthiness and mild hotness coming from the cumin and red chili powder.

This tamarind chutney recipe is often used in North Indian chaat snacks like dahi vada, samosa chaat, aloo tikki chaat etc. It is also served with samosa, kachori, pani puri and pakora.

You can store this imli ki meethi chutney in an air-tight bottle in the fridge and it lasts well for 4 to 5 months.

We always make this chutney with dried tamarind which is easily available in India. If you live outside India, then buy the tamarind from amazon or in your asian or Indian grocery store.

You can use tamarind paste or concentrate for the chutney. Depending on the tartness of the concentrate or paste, you will have to adjust the quantity of water and jaggery.

Here they are along with easily available alternatives:

Tamarind : We can also use tamarind concentrate in this recipe since that’s easily available in most grocery stores, and gives consistent results across different brands.

Using Jaggery Instead: Making chutney with sugar, for 1/4 cup of tamarind concentrate, add 1 cup of brown sugar.

Tamarind chutney is also known as ‘Sonth’, and is a must-have dipping sauce to popular street food and appetizers like Samosa , Pakora , Dahi Vada and more.

Make chutney more thicker to increase the shelf life. Before serving I dilute the tamarind chutney with little hot water to bring to consistency when needed.

Tamarind Chutney

Get your papdams ready. This tamarind chutney goes great with them.

The first time I served this tamarind chutney it was as a starter with papadams. I knew I loved it but wasn’t sure how it would be received. It’s a lot different to what you find at most curry houses.

I needn’t have worried. In fact it was devoured that evening. My guests loved the look and flavour and were bagging me for the recipe.

I also often serve this tamarind chutney with dosas and idlis as it works perfectly with those too

This one is sweet, sour, savoury and spicy. It also has a nice crunch to it. If you’re looking for a chutney that is sure to impress, this is it.

I like to serve popadams, idlis and dosas with three of four different chutneys, all with totally different flavours. They are all quite simple to make and some more of my favourite chutneys are listed below

If you like this recipe for tamarind chutney why not try my other chutney recipes:

So easy to make. Just place all the ingredients in a bowl!

Then stir. That’s it. You amazing tamarind chutney is ready for the fridge.

Puli Inji Recipe - Tamarind and Ginger Chutney

You have to try this slip smacking Puli Inji Recipe which is a sweet, spicy and tangy Tamarind and Ginger Chutney perfect to have along with dosa, parathas and especially Upma Kozhukattai for breakfast.

Puli Inji is a delicious tangy spicy gingery accompaniment made from fresh ginger, jaggery and green chillies. It is very simple and quick to make and can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week or two. If you taste this once you will salivate for more every time you hear puli inji. Delicious and pleasing to the palate will all flavours of sweet, sour, bitter and tangy it is a perfect accompaniment to any meal.

Puli Inji is quite popular across South India. You will find puli inji on an onam sadhya famous in Kerala and you can also find it as part of the meal at a Tamilian Brahmin weddings.

Serve Puli Inji with almost everything like dosa, idli, chilla, and especially with Upma Kozhukattai.


1 lb/ ½ kg green tomatoes chopped

1 lb/ ½kg tart apples, peeled and chopped

2 tsp ginger finely chopped

1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed

Combine all the ingredients, except the vinegar, in a stainless-stell saucepan.

Add 6 tbsp of the vinegar and cook over low heat, adding the remaining vinegar gradually as the mixture boils.

Stir as the mixture thickens about 45 minutes. When thick transfer to sterilized jars.

Seal when cool. Store in a cool, dark place.

How to make Moringa Chutney

Add 1 teaspoon of oil to a pan, add the green chilies and moringa leaves and saute for a minute until the leaves wilt. Dont overcook. Keep aside.

In a blender take shredded coconut, roasted green chilies-moringa leaves mixture, tamarind, ginger, salt and blend into a smooth paste by adding ½ cup of water.

Transfer in the serving bowl. Pour the tempering. Moringa/drumstick leaves coconut chutney is ready and can be served with dosa, idli or chapati.

Watch the video: Easy Tamarind chutney. Imly Chutney Fiji South Indian Style (January 2022).